According Oxford dictionary,

hear: [transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses): to listen or pay attention to somebody/something

He knows that the crowd wants to hear those songs.

Have you ever heard him lecture?

My question is that:

When can we use "hear" to mean "listen to"?

For example, can we say "I heard his lecture carefully" instead of "I listened to his lecture carefully"?

1 Answer 1


"Heard" is used more generally, i.e., as in the perception of any sound, but if you're being specifically attentive, listened carefully would be the better way to state it.

  • He barely heard the insect scuttling.
  • He clearly heard the thunder.
  • He listened carefully to the weak signal.

So heard is the perception, listened includes the thought processes.

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